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If you're wondering why NYC wants to get a heat pump for every apartment, consider this.

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    There is no substitute for preventative maintenance.
    Retired and loving it.
    delcrossv
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,704
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    There is no substitute for preventative maintenance.

    If these landlords etc cannot keep typical basic heating systems maintained and working, how exactly will inverter type heat pumps fix this long term? They certainly aren't simpler or more reliable. They aren't cheaper to troubleshoot and they aren't cheaper to replace.

    I'm considering it Dan but I'm not understanding yet.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ZmanIronmanmattmia2kcopp
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,752
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    Dan, I’m a little confused by the topic vs the articles linked. I do know that installing 50 heat pumps vs 1 or 2 boilers adds a whole other layer of maintenance issues. The 1st being making sure someone goes around and cleans the filters on all the air handlers. The 2nd being the lack of trained techs to work on inverter heat pumps. I am trained in both but not too many are. We have a major shortage in boiler techs in Seattle, I don’t see it getting better either. No one entering the ranks. The idea of strenuous dirty work is definitely not on the list for upcoming generations.
    Tim
    Ironmanbucksnort
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    @ChrisJ, I think they see it as getting rid of the boilers/controls/pumps, and everything else that needs PM and never gets it. I know that makes no sense because everything needs PM, but the heat pump will isolate the problem to one tenant at a time (or multiple tenants at a time, of course), but it won't shut down the entire building. Or so they hope.

    And then the heat pumps will be running on clean electricity, which comes to us from heaven and needs absolutely no maintenance.

    And along those lines, I just read that ConEd has applied for a rate increase (more than 18% to the consumer), so they'll be able to provide more of that heavenly electricity.

    How'd I do?

    Retired and loving it.
    delcrossvIronmanEdTheHeaterManLS123
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    @TimSmith, the whole thing is nuts. Jake Myron summed it up in another thread a few weeks ago. He was in the middle of this for years at NYC Housing, and I was with him for a bunch of that time, looking at things that didn't work simply because there was no one who could fix them except for guys like Jake. And then they all retired and we now have what those news articles are about, and we have the same situation every winter. It's ridiculous what the tenants have to put up with, and the City sees the only solution as being the heat pumps.

    But as you bring up, who is going to maintain those? And at $3,000 per, does this even begin to make any sense?
    Retired and loving it.
    delcrossvIronmanHydroNiCK
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    You're doing fine, @DanHolohan !

    But the whole thing does illustrate -- if illustration was needed -- a much more general problem. People, in general, simply have neither the time, the inclination, nor the experience to focus on and, nowadays, advocate loudly for, more than one topic at a time. This is not to say that the people are in any way at fault on this. Most of them are simply doing a good honest job of keeping themselves and their families going, as best they can.

    I have absolutely no interest on The Wall of getting into political philosophy. Suffice it to say that this narrow focus problem has been the difficulty with true democratic (not the party, the form!) governments since, at the very least, the Greeks of Athens. In principle, republican (not the party, the form!) governments, properly constructed, do not suffer from this problem -- but that is all a discussion for another place and time.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    delcrossv
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,752
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    Dan, I see the same thing here. We get multiple calls a day looking for a new provider as people are told their current provider can’t get there for 2-3 weeks. It’s going to get worse too. I feel for clients and try to help. I fixed 3 units over the phone in last week to at least get them short term heat , these people were a bit mechanically inclined and problems were easy, bad condensate pumps. I’m trying to and will retire but the prospects are bleak.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    Bless you for doing that, Tim. You’re a good man. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,581
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    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,704
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    SlamDunk said:

    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.

    Anyone make heat pump boilers yet?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ayetchvacker
    ayetchvacker Member Posts: 63
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    ChrisJ said:
    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.
    Anyone make heat pump boilers yet?
    Nordic makes a few 
    https://www.nordicghp.com/product/nordic-products/air-source-heat-pump/air-to-water/
    Fixer of things 
    Lead Service Technician
    HVAC/R
    ‘09Moto Guzzi V7
    ‘72CB350
    ’83Porsche944
    ChrisJ
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,627
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    I like how the good Senator snuck a nod towards climate change into a discussion about deferred maintenance., & that a 'retrofit' will keep the system from failing.
    Ironman
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    ChrisJ said:

    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.
    Anyone make heat pump boilers yet?

    Nordic makes a few 
    https://www.nordicghp.com/product/nordic-products/air-source-heat-pump/air-to-water/


    Good for hot water. Now to do steam...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,704
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    ChrisJ said:

    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.
    Anyone make heat pump boilers yet?

    Nordic makes a few 
    https://www.nordicghp.com/product/nordic-products/air-source-heat-pump/air-to-water/


    Good for hot water. Now to do steam...

    They won't.
    Not because they can't.

    Because the market is too small.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    Yes, @SlamDunk , I know they exist. There are three minor problems with them: they are not green at all, unless your power is essentially all zero emission all the time. In many areas of the country they are very expensive to run compared to direct fuel. And last, the grid is simply not capable of handling any significant percentage of conversion.

    Other than that, they're great.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    delcrossvLS123
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
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    First, what heats the domestic water in theses buildings? Most of the time, is it not the steam boilers which they can’t fix?

    Second, as so eloquently stated, whose gonna maintain all these inverter units? Do these people who made this wonderful decision even consider such things.

    About a year ago go, the owner of some high end rehab condos who I’d done a boiler for asked me to look at a split system and a mini split there. I told what was wrong with them and he said he’d get his maintenance man to fix them because he couldn’t get the installer back (who was three hours away) and he also didn’t know how to service them.

    A couple weeks later, the maintenance guy calls wanting me to fix one of the mini split systems in one of the condos. I told him that I couldn’t help because I was swamped with installations. He then asked why it was that he couldn’t get any company out to look at it and I was very frank with him. I said, “look, you paid another contractor to install these and he made the profit off it. Not many techs can work on these, but you gave the job to the low bidder. Now, you want someone to come out in freezing cold, walk up three stories to the roof ladder, climb that with tools, gauges, recovery equipment, vacuum pump, refrigerant drums, etc. and go on an icy roof to fix what someone else should warranty...and then be married to the thing. Does that sound like a good business decision?”

    He didn’t like my answer, but he saw the point.

    I see the same scenario in this situation.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    PC7060bucksnortreggiluketheplumber
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    The steam boilers heat the domestic water through tankless coils. No heat, no hot water. 
    Retired and loving it.
    LS123
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
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    The steam boilers heat the domestic water through tankless coils. No heat, no hot water. 
    Maybe I missed it, but I’ve yet to see how they plan on addressing this.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    I imagine they’ll have lots of electric water heaters. 
    Retired and loving it.
    Ironmandelcrossv
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
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    I imagine they’ll have lots of electric water heaters. 
    And we all know how much more efficient they are than a natural gas fired boiler.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    HydroNiCK
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,160
    edited February 2022
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    Ironman said:



    The steam boilers heat the domestic water through tankless coils. No heat, no hot water. 


    Maybe I missed it, but I’ve yet to see how they plan on addressing this.
    I think they plan on deploying the "M" series inverters with the optional "then a miracle occurs" module installed. ;)
    delcrossvEdTheHeaterMan
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,581
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    Yes, @SlamDunk , I know they exist. There are three minor problems with them: they are not green at all, unless your power is essentially all zero emission all the time. In many areas of the country they are very expensive to run compared to direct fuel. And last, the grid is simply not capable of handling any significant percentage of conversion.

    Other than that, they're great.

    A heat pump in every apartment versus one electric boiler in the basement.....One, centralized heating device versus 122 throughout a building.....Sounds like a no brainer.

    Let's be realistic, the window units won't be zero emissions either. Nor will your electric blanket be zero emissions. But the thought of no combustion burner to lose tuning, or knuckleheaded, and no burner safeties to troubleshoot, is appealing. After half a life time of watching black smoke rising from half the chimneys in the Bronx and Manhattan, no local emissions is very attractive.

    Even solar panels require emissions at some point of their manufacture.

    Besides, are we talking about many areas of the country? Or just NYC? I thought we were talking about NYC. NYC has a power grid.
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,704
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    SlamDunk said:
    Yes, @SlamDunk , I know they exist. There are three minor problems with them: they are not green at all, unless your power is essentially all zero emission all the time. In many areas of the country they are very expensive to run compared to direct fuel. And last, the grid is simply not capable of handling any significant percentage of conversion. Other than that, they're great.
    A heat pump in every apartment versus one electric boiler in the basement.....One, centralized heating device versus 122 throughout a building.....Sounds like a no brainer. Let's be realistic, the window units won't be zero emissions either. Nor will your electric blanket be zero emissions. But the thought of no combustion burner to lose tuning, or knuckleheaded, and no burner safeties to troubleshoot, is appealing. After half a life time of watching black smoke rising from half the chimneys in the Bronx and Manhattan, no local emissions is very attractive. Even solar panels require emissions at some point of their manufacture. Besides, are we talking about many areas of the country? Or just NYC? I thought we were talking about NYC. NYC has a power grid.
    New Jersey is also talking about banning natural gas from what I've seen.

    I guess I need to come up with a heat pump steamer before I die
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
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    I can't see heat pumps in a cold climate. And working on them when it's cold out is a nightmare. You can't evacuate properly when the weather is cold the vacuum pump can't get any moisture out.

    My cousin called me from Florida the other day he lives in MA but spends the winter in FLA at a camp ground.

    They have a heat pump that heats the outdoor swimming pool. Due to the recent cold snap in FLA the heat pump can't heat the pool

    The campers are up in arms.

    I explained the lower the outdoor temp the less output a heat pump has.
    delcrossvbucksnortBobCSuperTech
  • franzsf
    franzsf Member Posts: 13
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    ChrisJ said:


    ChrisJ said:

    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.
    Anyone make heat pump boilers yet?

    Nordic makes a few 
    https://www.nordicghp.com/product/nordic-products/air-source-heat-pump/air-to-water/
    Good for hot water. Now to do steam...

    They won't.
    Not because they can't.

    Because the market is too small.

    Could something like this be adapted? A customer the size of NYCHA would have some leverage in figuring out a solution.

    https://www.fujielectric.co.jp/products/heat_pump/system.html
    (Turn on Google translate if you don't read Japanese).

    This apparently requires water at 140-180F as input, which could be supplied by a first-stage air-to-water heat pumps (or condensing boilers, or solar, or whatever) right?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    The only real advantage I can see with individual units is the ability to pull a defective one out of a sleeve and stick a working unit in it.

    Works in hotels/motels. Have working spares to trade out.
    Then when you get 10-20 dead units in the basement, someone who knows how can work on them.....maybe that is just wishful thinking.

    The ones I am thinking of are PTHP....PTAC w/heat pump.
    The simple (cheap) ones switch from HP to elements at some low temp, they may not have a defrost system.

    Also have about 5KW of resistive elements in them requiring a 20 amp 240 ckt.
    So when it is 10 degrees out , 5 KW x 100 units?? = 500,000 watts which needs about a 2000 amp x 240 vac service (going with simple 1 phase) which would deliver 480,000 watts....that is just for the heating/ac load.
    Perhaps figure some diversity load factor in there somewhere, but then also only load the 2000amp service up to 80 %.

    So my guess is HP only, you get what you get....just like Florida.
    LS123
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    It all sounds so wonderful... considering NYCHA's current track record on maintenance, th9ugh... I'm not surprised the heat pump manufacturers are happy, though.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    Fun City
    Retired and loving it.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    Those straddle units look pretty neat.
    Unless you need access to the outside unit....need to wash the coil etc.
    And could only be switched with a replacement by 2 well muscled people.
    I wonder if these are 120 volt units?
    They will work down to 0 degrees but how well?

    But then it sounds like the gas ranges must go also.
    So back to the electric load.....about double of the best guess I made in the last post.

    It is much safer to run your electric oven with the door open than the gas range.
    Only if the HP isn't doing the job, of course.

    This will be interesting to follow.
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 566
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    I haven't seen anyone address the issue that none of these older buildings are wired with anything like the capacity to run these units. Back then there was just no need. I have a small old building with 1br units that when I bought it each had 1 20A riser with 2 15A glass fuses in the apartment panel! So the expense to wire them for electric heat, and presumably electric ranges, is mind boggling.
    bucksnortSuperTech
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    My grandma and aunt lived in a NYCHA building. Glass fuses. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,215
    edited February 2022
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    ChrisJ said:


    ChrisJ said:

    I still think electric boilers are the way to go if you are going electric.
    Anyone make heat pump boilers yet?

    Nordic makes a few 
    https://www.nordicghp.com/product/nordic-products/air-source-heat-pump/air-to-water/
    Good for hot water. Now to do steam...

    They won't.
    Not because they can't.

    Because the market is too small.

    I don't think so. I would guess that 40% of the housing units in Chicago are steam heated. That's probably similiar to most large old cities. I would expect New York to be much higher.

    If you look at the data on sales, yes, very few steam boilers are sold. However, one boiler is often heating 100 units. Also, commercial steam boilers last over 100 years, so how many furnaces would you go through in that time? If you look take the above info, 1 commercial steam boiler produced is probably equal to about 600 to 700 hot air furnaces.

    Also, vacuum steam system can run down to as low as 140F, so those who say its impossible need to do thier homework.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,528
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    Dave, talking to the folks making this decision is like trying to explain clouds to fish. I’ve tried as hard as I could. I invited them to see The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York’s building, heated by ConEd steam, and where we reduced the usage by 43% with minor changes to the system. They were not interested. “Steam is old and not green. Electricity is clean!”

    They’ve made up their minds. 
    Retired and loving it.
    bucksnortCLamb
  • Jells
    Jells Member Posts: 566
    edited February 2022
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    I'm trying to picture the relatively cheap cost and huge energy savings from just installing TRVs in those buildings where half the windows are open all winter vs the stupendous cost of PTACs and rewiring.

    But maybe the whole plan is to stop paying for heat and push it off on the tenants. Do the NYCHA buildings even have metered electricity? In my 20s I lived in a Manhattan building with metered gas for my stove but no electric meter! Needless to say my AC ran 24/7 all summer. I have to guess it was wired before electric gadgets other than lights were a thing.
    wmgeorge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,704
    edited February 2022
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    Dave, talking to the folks making this decision is like trying to explain clouds to fish. I’ve tried as hard as I could. I invited them to see The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York’s building, heated by ConEd steam, and where we reduced the usage by 43% with minor changes to the system. They were not interested. “Steam is old and not green. Electricity is clean!”

    They’ve made up their minds. 
    The only thing that seems to actually be considered "green" is short lived things that fill up land fills.

    I guess it's good for business.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    delcrossvSuperTech
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,704
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    After thinking it over I've come to the conclusion it's all @KC_Jones ' fault.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ratio
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,581
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    What can you say? Necessity is the mother of invention.

    But the numbers dont work. Over a half billion to fit one in every apt (177000+) with no estimate costs to maintain or replace. 300 is an easier number to work with.

    They say a word to the wise is sufficient.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,215
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    Dave, talking to the folks making this decision is like trying to explain clouds to fish. I’ve tried as hard as I could. I invited them to see The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York’s building, heated by ConEd steam, and where we reduced the usage by 43% with minor changes to the system. They were not interested. “Steam is old and not green. Electricity is clean!”

    They’ve made up their minds. 

    I wonder what they are going to do in about 15 years when all those heat pumps start dying. Apparently the fact that they will need to spend almost the same amount all over again every 15 years has been conveniently ignored. Just like they ignored the blatantly false numbers in the report supporting Heat pumps.
    We see some of that same attitude in Chicago... mainly in the upscale neighborhoods a little north of downtown. The really wealthy neighborhood ( the Gold Coast) still have thier "old, out of date" systems in the 4 story mini mansions.
    And probably the most educated neighborhoods in the city (around University of Chicago). their buildings almost all have thier original steam systems. We're doing a lot of work in those neighborhoods.

    It's the whole "don't try to confuse me with anything that doesn't fit my narrow world view" crowd that seems to be gaining control.

    As I said a bit ago, New York City is probably going to lose it leadership position in work towards efficiency and pollution, with that lack of critical thinkin'. New York may soon be once again in Chicago's shadow.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Ironmandelcrossv
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